Friday, May 26, 2006

[[ZEITGEIST]] back with a vengeance
Dounrey nuclear power station - BBCIn a CBI dinner speech on 16th May Tony Blair announced nuclear power was back on the agenda with a vengeance. Nuclear power is seen by some – mainly those in the nuclear power industry!- as being the answer to global warning. However there is the non trivial problem of managing a substance that remains toxic for 4.5 billion years as is the case with uranium-238

While electricity generated from nuclear power does not directly emit carbon dioxide (CO2), the nuclear fuel cycle does release CO2, uranium mining for example is one of the most CO2 intensive industrial operations. And the construction of new nuclear power stations will need to be subsidised, most likely through increases in electricity bills.

Apparently it is not economically feasibly to power the UK using alternative energy sources alone. Presumably because nobody want to implement a cultural change of more efficient energy usage or better insulation. Does this sound like fiddling while Rome burns? Research by the Energy Savings Trust suggests that home generation of power is developing so fast that it could potentially provide 30%-40% of the UK's total electricity needs by 2050.

Sweden generates more nuclear power per person than any other country. With half the nation's electricity coming from nuclear sources. However in Januarey 1991, the Sweden's government agreed to stick to its commitment to phase out nuclear power by the year 2010. The government promised to spend 352 million Pounds to develop alternative sources of power and improve energy efficiency over the next five years.

Finally let us not forget this.